Premier makes clear why Sarawak will continue to use English
Posted on : 18 Jun 2022  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari (centre), flanked by Deputy Premiers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas (on his right) and Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan (on his left), and others recite the pledge at the PBB Convention. – Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING (June 18): Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg has reiterated the practical importance in using the English language in Sarawak.

Holding a copy of the Constitution of Malaysia during his speech at the 15th Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Convention opening ceremony at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) yesterday, he read aloud Article161 (3):

“Without prejudice to Clause (1), no such Act of Parliament as is there mentioned shall come into operation as regards the use of the English language for proceedings in the High Court in Borneo or for such proceedings in the Supreme Court as are mentioned in Clause (4), until the Act or the relevant provision of it has been approved by enactments of the Legislatures of the States of Sabah and Sarawak; and no such Act shall come into operation as regards the use of the English language in the State of Sabah or Sarawak in any other case mentioned in paragraph (b) or (c) of Clause (2), until the Act or the relevant provision of it has been approved by an enactment of the Legislature of that State.”

Abang Johari stressed what it all means is that Sarawak can use English.

“We in Sarawak have accepted Bahasa Malaysia as the official language. However, we are also maintaining the use of English as one of the languages that we can use to communicate.

“It means we have to be practical. We are not rejecting national policies. Some people say Abang Jo declare in Sarawak that they are not following national policies. It’s not that. I follow but I have the right under this book,” he said.

The Premier pointed out that there are many terms used in English that are difficult to translate into Bahasa Malaysia.

“We want to enter into digital economy, we want to enter into secular economy, we want enter into hydrogen (economy). All the terms used are in English that are hard to be translated.

“We want to talk about augmented reality but how do we translate that into Bahasa? We want to talk abou carbon but what is carbon in Bahasa? It is still ‘karbon’,” he explained.

Abang Johari then highlighted the importance of English to Sarawakians when overseas.

“When we go overseas, we can use English. Imagine if I had used Bahasa in Rotterdam?

“So, be practical. It does not mean that we are against national policies. We have to be clear about this. We are basing it on the Constitution,” he said.

He added that English is used even in the PBB Convention.

“PBB is multilingual. This is the way we want to develop our state. Our state may be small if compared to China or America but let us be small and strong, like ‘cili padi’,” he said.